- Member: Infinity Squared
- Studio: amvience studios
- Title: Only Bob
- Premiered: 2009-09-20
- Scott Matthew Be Human
- Animatrix, The
- Azumanga Daioh
- Clannad (TV)
- Death Note (TV)
- Ergo Proxy (TV)
- Fullmetal Alchemist (TV)
- Girl Who Leapt Through Time, The (Movie)
- Green Green
- Haibane Renmei (Charcoal Feathers Federation)
- Kanon (TV - 2006)
- Love Hina (TV)
- My HiME
- Naruto Shippūden (TV)
- Nodame Cantabile (TV)
- Original 3D Animation
- Ouran High School Host Club (TV)
- Pale Cocoon (OAV)
- Paranoia Agent
- Place Promised in Our Early Days, The (Beyond the Clouds)
- Puni Puni Poemy
- Rozen Maiden
- Sumomomo Momomo (TV)
WINNER: Judge's Choice AVCon 2009
WINNER: Drama/Romance Wai-Con 2010
WINNER: Committee's Choice Wai-Con 2010
This is probably one of my most ambitious projects to date. It is a "remake" of Only Human, but it's probably more accurate to say, this is what Only Human should have been to start with. I created it specifically for the AWA Masters competition so I had the mindset that I had to pull out all stops to compete in this level. To that effect, I went with using the only avenue of editing which I thought I had a slight advantage on, namely original 3D animation. After finishing the video, I felt that I overextended my efforts a bit and just like many of those movies which focussed too much on the special effects, I thought that perhaps the visuals became disjointed from the actual story/theme. You be the judge of that as I still have not made up my mind.
Anyway, to the (perceived) negative parts first. The video came out looking a bit cartoony. I guess it's a good thing that it's at least consistent, but in truth I wanted a bit more detail on just about everything in it. I also wanted more objects/characters passing Bob (which is what I named the robot) as he was rolling on the street but I guess I tried to balance it a bit and not take too much of the focus away from the backing video on the floating screens. In that same vein, it's been suggested that I should have shown other videos on the screens but again, I felt it might have become too much information for the audience to concentrate on.
Learning the 3D modelling program Blender wasn’t too much of a hassle as I had a thorough crash course with it back when I did the ending credits for Yuri Collections however there were a couple of things that I had never before done which I needed to learn here. The first was the 2D video integration to the screens. I had previously done this in the opening sequence of Anime Academy Heroes - The Second Raid but that did not involve any timing. Blender has an internal video sequencing editor which might have been useful, but at the end of the day I found clipping tracks in VirtualDub and counting frames within the animation did the trick. The other major thing was working with skeletons, which was definitely my first time. I had considered a "walking" robot but after playing around with some pre-made skeletons and trying to grasp the dynamics of walking, I quickly gave up and decided a big ball would work just as well for locomotion. That said, moving individual bones in any part of the body in 3D space, whether it be in a leg or a pinky finger proved very problematic. They move in all axes and the normal limitations that bound our skeletons aren't usually observed here so I had to be very careful where I place all the movements. I'm sure there's some constraint function available to prevent an elbow being twisted in the wrong direction, but for the life of me I never found it so I did things perhaps the long way. Oh and just as a reference for future dabblers of Blender, name your objects/materials/everything; you’ll find it indispensible when you have multiple objects all sharing the same properties. Anyway, if you wanted to have a look at the evolution of my experimentation with 3D character movements, click here.
Moving on to what I thought was good about the video. Firstly of course the beginning sequence, the parts before any 3D animation. In the original Only Human, this part was what got the most praise and perhaps if I had more time back then, I would have continued that style of editing till the end of the video but I needed to submit to AI Con and I was very late. Therefore, I didn’t have the heart to alter this much at all as I think it prepared the way for Bob quite well as it is. The simple "screen room" in the second half of the video was also a favourite because I thought it just worked. Lastly, despite tackling it last and rather quite quickly, the ending credits is always a part that I go back to over and over again. It was too late at this stage, but my approach for the credits would have saved me my "lack of details" issue throughout the cityscape scene. The foreground image was one of my early attempts at creative photography (on my roof towards the sunset).
As with most big projects, besides the technical and creative hurdles, quite a few physical issues came about during its creation. First of all, my computer had begun to overheat. The computer would emit a loud buzzing noise warning that the CPU is now passing 80°C. I had to move to my sister’s old room to sleep because I rendered the frames only during the night when it was coldest and I could open my window to the cold winter night as well as have the big electric fan blowing into the motherboard. Eventually I figured out that what I thought was a dust filter over the heat sink turned out to be just plain dust itself. Brushing that all out solved the problem but I’ve done most of my rendering at this stage. The biggest reason for why I didn’t put in as much detail as I would have liked was because I was leaking time and the more detailed something is, the longer it took to render. All up, I estimate at least 100 hours was spent on the 3D animation parts and more still if you count the original Only Human segments. Roughly speaking, not counting continuously, this took the span of 2 months to build.
I assume you're tl;dring by now so I won't go much further. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you wanted to ask anything about the video. I just want to thank Koopiskeva and Rina for doing the beta and a special thanks to my friend Sara for staying up late with me while I inched my way through this.